2023 Author: Anita Thornton | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-27 18:44
Being aware that your child is being bullied is hard for any parent to bear. Here's how you can help.
Bullying makes us react strongly and even if we know that because of it, our child is having bad days, we don't always know how to tackle this problem. Here are some tips to recognize the different faces of bullying and put an end to it for good.
Types of bullying
The law defines bullying as any repetitive act intended to harm, oppress or offend a person. These acts can be of several kinds, but they are always intended to humiliate or hurt. In Canada, 75% of young people say they have been bullied at least once and 25% of young people aged 11 to 18 have received belittling messages from other children.1
Methods used by bullies include:
- verbal and social intimidation: insulting, spreading false rumours, threatening, giving nicknames, isolating the person by saying for example that they stink, etc.
- physical or sexual violence: hitting, pushing, touching the other without their consent, etc.
- cyberbullying:use email or Facebook to humiliate and harass the person.
- taxing: stealing money or food from the person.
- use of allergies2: threatening or touching someone with food to which they are allergic.
Verbal abuse is the most common form of bullying faced by children with food allergies. There are, however, disturbing case reports of children being thrown or nagged at by the food they are allergic to!
When talking to a young person who has been bullied in the past, they almost always regret not talking to an adult sooner. Each time, the young person says that his ordeal which had lasted for months ended a few hours after talking about it, however, professionals3 are unanimous: children only talk to adults as a last resort.
It is often the fear of looking like a reporter that is the worst enemy of victims of bullying. It is this fear that prevents the somewhat shy youngster from complaining and makes him easy prey. The more he allows himself to be harassed, the more it will become “normal” for others to be harassed and the more difficult it will be to change the mentality of the other young people in his school. It is therefore imperative to react promptly.
In order, here are some actions to take if you learn thatyour child is being bullied.
- Listen to your child carefully and take them seriously.
- Tell him to tell his bully to leave him alone.
- Tell him to avoid places where he gets bullied.
- Talk to school staff
- If that's not enough, tell the bully's parents.
- Change the security settings of your child's Facebook account.
- Block the bully from his email account.
- If you feel that he does not tell you everything, suggest that he call an organization such as Tel-Jeunes where he can confide in and be advised in the 'anonymity.
Many bullies avoid serious confrontations. If you fight back with your child and the forces even out, there's a good chance he'll stop being interesting.
Prevent this from happening
It's not always rosy parenting a bully either, but it's a position in which you can more easily make an impact. At home, you can do two things: defuse aggression and avoid over-preventing younger children.
If your child is aggressive, it is your job to channel that aggression. Find the source of his rage, consult a psychologist or channel his energy into a demanding, but non-contact sport. Whatever happens, don't let time pass hoping it fixes things and theteacher will take care of the discipline. He is your child and it is your responsibility to make him a good classmate and a good citizen.
If you're afraid for your young child, don't over-prepare them to deal with bullying that doesn't yet exist. A parent who tells his child “if someone bothers you at school, defend yourself, don’t let it happen!” in a way gives the authorization to defend oneself anyhow against any type of aggression. If your child misunderstands what you are saying, he may become angry at a child who refused to play with him and possibly become an unintentional bully.
As of September 2015, 99% of schools have an anti-bullying and anti-violence plan and have designated a contact person to ensure its application. As prescribed by law, primary and secondary schools in Quebec are invited to carry out various civic awareness activities. The Ministère Éducation, Loisir et Sport has launched the Branché sur lepositive website to help children, parents and schools in their fight against bullying.
Bullying cannot be taken lightly. The cases of runaways and suicides are too numerous, the distress of the children is too great and the school structure does not offer them enough escape routes. Studies carried out on 1,420 participants in England and the United States4 have also shown that victims of bullying maintain sequelae of thesedifficult times. We must therefore act, and do it as soon as possible.
If you have difficulty talking to your child, do not hesitate to meet with a psychoeducator or a psychologist who will be able to support you. It is said that it takes a village to raise a child and it is even more true when that child is in distress. When all of this is behind you, you'll be surprised how his school will once again become a haven of peace.
To encourage you a little, don't hesitate to read the story of this young man from the South Shore of Montreal for whom bullying is now a thing of the past.
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